Keeping Up with the Litvinenkos

Some of the family of the murdered former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko have been having a very tough time in their temporarily adopted home of Italy, where police have raided and shut down their business, asylum papers blocked, and other harassment – leaving them to assume that Silvio Berlusconi may have a hand in it as a favor to his friends in Moscow.  Luke Harding of the Guardian reports:

On 31 October 2009 police burst into the restaurant at 12.45am, complaining of “loud music”. Tatiana says the last guests had left at midnight and the family were quietly clearing up. The police demanded to see the Litvinenkos’ papers. When Tatiana told them her documents were in her flat, a short walk away, one policeman grabbed her roughly by the arm, she says. “I struggled free. He then chased after me and pushed me from behind. I smashed my head on the marble floor. I lost consciousness.” She says she suffered concussion. “I felt groggy for days. I had to see the doctor.”

The restaurant, La Terrazza, wasfinally shut down in November. The Litvinenkos were forced to move to acheaper flat down the coast in nearby Senigallia.

The family saythey do not know if the harassment has been authorised at the highestlevels. “I thought Europe had 100% rule of law. We discovered in Italythis isn’t true. It’s connections and the mafia. It’s as if we neverarrived in Europe but ended up in some Russian province,” Tatiana says.

Italianimmigration officials have interrogated the family twice. According toTatiana, they expressed little interest in why the Litvinenkos fledtheir home in the southern Russian town of Nalchik. Instead, theywanted to know how they had come to Italy and whether their visas hadbeen forged.